It is important to know that:
In essential beliefs – we have unity. (Ephesians 4:4-6)
In non-essential beliefs – we have liberty. (Romans 14:1-4, 12, 22)
In all our beliefs – we show love. (1 Corinthians 13:2)
AT ROCK POINT CHURCH, THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT…
We believe there is one true, holy God, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses equally all the attributes of deity and the characteristics of personality. In the beginning God created out of nothing the world and all the things therein, thus manifesting the glory of His power, wisdom, and goodness. By His sovereign power He continues to sustain His creation. By His providence He is operating throughout history to fulfill His redemptive purposes.
Comments: The Bible begins with the phrase, In the beginning, God… God has always existed—His nature and being are eternal. We also learn about God from His revelation to us that three distinct “persons” are called God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Because the Bible clearly teaches there is only one God (not three Gods), we understand that these three persons must fully share the one and only divine nature. We use the term “Trinity” to represent the teaching that God has a singular nature and exists eternally as three persons. This creative God desired to share the “community” that always existed within Him, so He made a universe that would reflect His attributes. All that He created is dependent on Him—He made it out of nothing, keeps it together, can reshape it, and is Master over it. God crowned His creation with man and woman, fashioned in His personal image, with whom He could have a relationship, and who could relate to each other. They would reflect His nature by exhibiting unity in the presence of diversity, love in the midst of differences, ruling while remaining submissive all at the same time.
God has been involved in the affairs of His creation from the very beginning, and continues to play an active role in relating to mankind, specifically in rescuing us from our rejection of His love and His legitimate right to be glorified as our Creator.
Some Practical Applications
- Knowing God is our highest priority—substituting any activity or allowing any passion to become stronger is idolatry.
- We treat creation as something wonderful that God has made; we neither abuse it, nor worship it; we seek to cultivate all that God has shared with us so it can be used to further His purposes, treating it as a stewardship from Him which must be preserved without becoming more important than the people He made to enjoy it.
- We cannot agree with any teacher or religious group that rejects God’s revelation of Himself as Trinity (as is common among most cult groups).
- We can count on God to be active throughout our lifetime; He will bring us good things, and He will turn evil things into some good; He works in our lives so we develop a vital relationship with Him based on deep trust that supersedes all other loyalties.
Jesus Christ is the eternal second person of the Trinity through whose work and person God has achieved His redemptive purpose of reconciling all creation with Himself. Jesus was united forever with a true human nature by a miraculous conception and virgin birth. He lived a life of perfect obedience to the Father and voluntarily atoned for the sins of all by dying on the cross as their substitute. Thus, Jesus satisfied divine justice and accomplished salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He ascended into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of the Father, where He, the only Mediator between God and man, continually makes intercession for His own. He shall come again to earth, personally and visibly, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God.
Comments: Jesus is “the God-Man” who is unlike any person who has or ever will live. He is not part divine, part human—He is fully both; all of God dwelt in Him, and His humanity was complete. His birth evidences His humanity in that He was born in the normal way from a human mother, yet His divinity is established by virtue of the fact His mother was a virgin who conceived miraculously. In His humanity, He experienced every human limitation except sin; He was like us in every way except that He never disobeyed His heavenly Father. In His divinity, He was co-equal with His Father and the Holy Spirit from all eternity. His death did not end His existence, but after He had paid for our sin on the cross, He arose from the dead on the third day. His resurrection not only shows His complete provision for sin’s effects; it also serves as a picture of our future resurrection when our bodies will be remade in the same way to live in eternity. Jesus continues to possess both full humanity (though glorified) and full divinity. He is the ongoing mediator between humanity and the Father, ever mindful of our needs, and always concerned for our well-being. His final words on earth included the promise to return to earth visibly and bodily for the purpose of consummating history.
Some Practical Applications
- We are Christians (not merely “Godians”) because our message is about Christ—His work, His divinity, and our need to follow Him; any message that does not center on Christ, including His full humanity and divinity as well as His forgiveness for all sin, is not the Gospel.
- Because our salvation was secured by a perfect sacrifice of a perfect person, we live knowing that we are totally and unconditionally forgiven from sin now, rather than hoping we will be forgiven at some future point; we are secure in the grace of God through Christ.
- Knowing that Jesus will return some day, we hold on loosely to the things of this world, counting on the new heavens and earth to be our permanent home.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
The essential accompaniment of a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ is a life of holiness and obedience, attained by believers as they submit to the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity. He was sent into the world by the Father and the Son to apply to mankind the saving work of Christ. He enlightens the minds of sinners, awakens in them the recognition of their need of a Savior, and regenerates them. At the point of salvation He permanently indwells every believer and becomes the source of assurance, strength and wisdom, and uniquely endows each believer with gifts for the building up of the body of Christ, the Church. The Holy Spirit guides believers in understanding and applying the Bible. His power and control are appropriated by faith, making it possible for the believer to lead a life of Christ-like character, and to bear fruit to the glory of the Father.
Comments: The Holy Spirit is God, not just a force. The Bible describes Him with personal pronouns and reveals He has personal attributes. He works “behind the scenes” to prepare people to hear the Gospel and then applies the merits of Christ to them at the point of regeneration. Jesus promised the Spirit’s presence to all His followers, assuring us He would indwell us in a permanent union. His ministry in us includes: helping us understand the Bible, making us aware of things we do that don’t please God, assuring us we are God’s children, empowering us for witness, gifting us to uniquely serve others in the church, helping our prayer life through interceding for us, and producing in us the kind of character that makes us credible, persuasive representatives of Jesus Christ.
Some Practical Applications
- As saved people, we are continually striving to be more like the One who saved us; we are not content just to be forgiven; we want to exemplify Christ-like behavior in every area of life—we will never give up the fight to resist sin and be like Him in word and deed.
- The Christian life is more than just “being good”—we need the Holy Spirit to bear His fruit in us; therefore, our daily lives must be yielded to the Spirit in a moment-by-moment surrender or any attempts to change our lives will be useless.
- When we share Christ with others, the message we present is effectual not because of our superior reasoning or irresistible presentation, but because of the Spirit being free to work through us and in the heart of the person we’re talking to; therefore, we depend ultimately on His invisible activity through our limited understanding of what will reach the person.
- Because the Spirit is resident in us, we will listen for His promptings, anticipating He wants to direct us and will do so if we are open to Him.
The foundational basis of our belief is the Bible, composed of the 66 books of the Old and New Testament. We believe that Scripture in its entirety originated with God and that it was given through the instrumentality of chosen men. The Bible, like Jesus, is incarnational, simultaneously speaking with the authority of God and reflecting the backgrounds, styles, and vocabularies of the human authors. We hold that the Bible is infallible in regards to God’s purposes and inerrant in the original manuscripts. They are the unique, full, and final authority on all matters of faith and practice, and there are no other writings similarly inspired by God.
Comments: Human reason is a powerful tool, but our finite and often self-centered perspective distorts it. Reason alone cannot figure out the meaning to life, and cannot comprehend who God is beyond the simple awareness that He exists. If we are to have a relationship with God, we cannot get through our limitations to reach Him; He will have to break through and get to us. The Bible is the written summary of His efforts to do that.
Some Practical Applications
- We endeavor to regularly read and study the Bible, privately and publicly, to understand its message.
- We reject claims that any human or ecclesiastical intermediary is necessary for us to know and relate to God—we have His Word, and we are each individually responsible to learn what it says.
- All aspects of our life and conduct must be submitted to what the Bible teaches about that area—we must obey what we discover God has commanded.
- Messages given by Rock Point teachers must provide teaching supported by the Bible.
- We do not accept doctrines, no matter what is claimed as their source, if they do not square with what the Bible says; supposed “modern prophets”, “new revelation”, or any message—even if apparently given miraculously—must be tested by the Bible.
The central purpose of God’s revelation in the Bible is to call all people into fellowship with Himself. Originally created to have fellowship with God, man defied God, choosing to go his independent way, and thus was alienated from God and suffered the corruption of his nature, rendering him unable to please God. The fall took place at the beginning of human history, and all individuals since have suffered these consequences and are thus in need of the saving grace of God.
The salvation of mankind is wholly a work of God’s free grace, not the result, in whole or in part of human works or goodness, and must be personally appropriated by repentance and faith. When God has begun a saving work in the heart of any person, He gives assurance in His Word that He will continue performing it until the day Jesus returns.
Comments: The Bible does not support the common myth that humankind is basically good. We were originally made good, but the first man and woman rebuffed God’s rightful place in their lives, and so we are all now infected with the disease called “sin” leaving us spiritually separated from God. This condition is without remedy through any human effort. If God had left us to ourselves, all of us would continue in disobedience and rejection of Him.
The good news is that He has provided a way out of our dilemma through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, which paid the penalty for our sins and ransomed us from the grip of death. Those who personally appropriate the forgiveness that God offers will be restored to a right relationship with Him. This new life is a gift; it cannot be earned by our activities nor revoked by our failures—what God begins, He finishes. We live with the undeserved promise that the change He’s begun in His followers is only the beginning of a total transformation that culminates when we are taken into His very presence to live forever.
Some Practical Applications
- We will continue to proclaim the need for everyone to cast themselves without reservation on the perfect and reliable provision of God in Christ, and turn from fruitless attempts to earn God’s favor.
- We live secure in the knowledge that the Christian life we live is a “thank you” to God for the salvation He has fully and completely provided; we neither think our obedience “enhances” His provision for us (we can’t add anything to the death of Christ) or treat His grace in a cavalier way (as an excuse to live sinfully).
- Knowing we are all sinful, we will never naively assume we’re immune to temptation or evil; though confident of being rescued from the penalty of sin, we prudently conduct our lives mindful of sin’s ongoing potential to misdirect us.
People are made in the spiritual image of God, to be like Him in character and purpose. We are designed then to be His representatives, pointing the rest of creation back to God. As such, people are the pinnacle of God’s creation. Although every person has tremendous potential for good, we are marred by an attitude that separates people from God and causes many problems in life.
Death seals the eternal destiny of each person. For all mankind, there will be a resurrection of the body into the spiritual world and a judgment that will determine the fate of each individual. Unbelievers will be separated from God into condemnation. God’s judgment will reveal His justice by consigning them to perpetuate in eternal retribution their own rejection of God. Believers will be received into eternal communion with God and will be rewarded for works done in this life.
Because God gives us eternal life through Jesus Christ, the true believer is secure in that salvation for eternity. If you have been genuinely saved, you cannot “lose” it. Salvation is maintained by the grace and power of God, not by the self-effort of the Christian. It is the grace and keeping power of God that gives us this security.
Comments: There are no “second chances” after we die. Our relationship to God for eternity is set by how we respond to Him in this life. God has not only saved our souls, but (as He did for Jesus) God is going to resurrect our bodies in a form that will be suited to the environment of the eternal life we will inherit. The only hope for spending eternity with God will be to claim the merits of Christ. Any attempt to hold out one’s good deeds as sufficient for God’s approval will discover that those behaviors weren’t enough, and that one’s misconduct was far more serious than anticipated (now that it’s brought into the searing light of a holy God).
Because we are made in God’s image and have the mark of His handiwork on us, He does not destroy us after we die. Jesus said, “for all live to Him,” meaning that God is the God of the living. He fixes our eternal condition based on our life preferences: Heaven and hell are simply the fulfillment of our spiritual aspirations as manifested in life. If we welcomed His presence and cooperated with Him in our earthly life, He is pleased to continue that relationship for all eternity. If on the other hand we looked for ways to avoid Him and sought to live in behavior He condemned, He will allow us to continue unbothered by His presence and commands forever. Hell is God’s provision for those who have longed for Him to stop interfering with their plans and who wish He would leave them alone. There they will be “protected from God” forever, while those in Heaven, whose highest delight in life was God, will be able to enjoy forever the One who gave them pleasure on earth.
Some Practical Applications
- We reject the teaching of reincarnation—we must make good choices with the one life we have and urge others not to count on some later incarnation to work out their problems.
- Knowing that our eternity is infinitely longer and more significant than our 70 or so years on earth, we order our lives here so that they take into account this eternal perspective; we choose our activities and priorities based on God’s pleasure, recognizing that His approval supersedes every other consideration. That said, we take the here and now very seriously, knowing that our actions in this life really do contain eternal significance.
- Though we know good works can’t earn Heaven, we are taught that our obedience pleases God and will be rewarded; we serve Him diligently, not only because it brings Him glory, but because He has assured us the future age will make all earthly difficulties fade by comparison.
- The message of the Gospel brings life to those who would perish eternally without Christ; we therefore seek to present His saving message publicly and privately as often as we can (being sensitive to our listeners’ needs as well as communicating naturally through our own evangelistic “style”).
- As we relate to people throughout life, we see them as the “eternal beings” that they are and accord them due respect; no one is an “average” person—everyone matters to God and deserves to be treated lovingly.